So, English only, eh?

Dame Louise Casey used to be the “integration czar.” The one who would come up with policies to make us all more British and together that is. Which is odd really, because the very point of being British is that we don’t do such things. We already know we’ve won that lottery ticket of life by being born of the sceptered isle. But still she’s now gone even futher wrong by insisting that we must all be speaking English:

UK should set date for everyone to speak English, says Casey

Hmm, OK then 27 March 2019. We’ll all speak English to each other at 4.13 pm and then the idea can be buried as it should be:

THE GOVERNMENT should set a target date for when “everybody in the country” needs to speak English, according to the former integration tsar.

But there she is, going much further. She’s insisting that government has not just the right – which it doesn’t and shouldn’t – but also the duty to make us all use one particular language in our communications with each other.

There is that little reminder of the map above, that English is not the only native language upon these isles. Not even the native language of these isles, it being a fairly recent irruption itself. But more than that what damn business is it of government to intervene in the language we do speak?

Which brings us to the really basic problem here, over and above those jokes about the entire concern being something that we Brits simply don’t do. It is that this is a plan from government to make us all easier to govern. Which isn’t the point at all of the system. Rather, we institute government to bring us those things which cannot be done individually and or voluntarily. We get to decide what we’re going to have government doing, they don’t decide how we must behave to make life easy for them.

And the thing is that this idea of civil liberty under the rule of law, we’re the peeps who invented it. There’s nothing more British than the idea that government should empty the bins then bugger off. So, her entire line of thought about the imposition of integration is most un-British in the first place, isn’t it?

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  1. Dunno. Maybe she means stop spending taxpayers money on council leaflets and websites translated into Polish and squiggle.

    The obvious way to keep Britain British is to stop importing hordes of people who aren’t British.

    • Aye on both counts. Not learning English is anyone’s right (though acquiring permanent residence in the UK without doing so, is not) but it may carry added costs, and it is not the business of government to pay those costs (nor compel others to do so).

  2. Just change it to ‘a native language’, allowing Welsh and Gaelic where appropriate and English for all interactions with the public sector. Those who find that too difficult can always bring their own translator.

    • Scots is generally spoken in one form and another in most of Scotland. Historically it has been considered uneducated slang but linguistic scholars are now changing views. Doric (mid northern Scots) is one example but really with the exception of Edinburgh (Morningside and environs) and Inverness and the previously Gaelic highlands it’s pretty universal.

      • Linguistic scholars shy away from distinguishing between languages and dialects (“a language is a dialect with its own army and navy”). But if you’re going to claim Scots as a language (the greatest writer in Scots wrote “Poems: chiefly in the Scottish dialect”) you’ll have to acknowledge Scouse and Geordie as languages too (and probably Bristolian as well).

      • Nope. That’s not “the Scots language”.

        The fact that there are more or less inpenetratable dialects of English from Berwick to Aberdeen (where they haven’t spoken much Doric since the 1970s at the latest) and from Oban to about Fort William doesn’t make them recognised as Scots by the Scottish Language Society.

        The wiki article is full of romanticised bullshit – just because there are traces or overt dubious spelling all over the place, just look at Shakespear – proper spelling was invented by Dr Johnson. Before, it was everyone for themselves. C15 spelling bees must have been hilarious.

        Note that I can speak Dundonian and understand weegie and Aberdonian – therefore, on the very SLS disapproved Census question, am supposed to answer that I can speak Scots.

  3. Well said Tom. Precise use of language is needed when computers are programmed. The people prefer vague language with shades of grey, like the weather in a sense, and if we want to talk in imprecise archaic or modern ways to each other, then government can butt out. This is all part of a plan to get the new government approved language into our skulls which includes words that are plain wrong : ‘fuel poverty’, ‘affordable housing’, ‘austerity’ ‘diversity’ and ‘inequality’.
    I can’t believe that in the country of my birth, politicians even discussed imposing an official National Anthem on us, presumably under threat of court. The people have this covered.

    • Nor that, in the country of George Orwell’s birth, so many missed the point of ‘1984’. Earlier we touched on one facet (reworking the past, I think), and here we have a government attempt to impose control over the language. Regarding “thought crimes,” “hate speech” can lengthen a criminal sentence in American courts; don’t know the state of this in the UK.

  4. As Welsh is an official language under the Welsh language act this would actually be illegal in some parts of Britain, though the misapprehension that foreigners and the English have that the UK is England maybe the cause of the problem